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Cynthia: the First Encounter


I'm have to say that I was surprised you called me back yesterday and I was very happy happy to hear from you. After visiting the website, I had a sense of relief that I finally found something substantial to learn from as part of my personal research project on my mother's native country, Peru. As a young girl I was introduced to this, spending my summers in Peru and learning more and more not only about ancestry but about what I eventually wanted to do with my life. Through the women in my family, I was taught some dances native to Peru such as Festejo, Wayno, Vals, and La Marinera. It was through dance that I felt even more connected to my mother's culture which became mine as well. Here in the states, there was no such outlet (that was known to me or my parents) to learn more about Peruvian performing art forms. In other words I couldn't call 411 to get to an establishment that would offer this to me. My visits to Peru became more and more infrequent, but I pick up as much as I can when I'm out there. It was after my visit to Cuzco and Macchu Picchu that I (16) began to investigate more about various Andean cultures and what it really means to me. Unfortunately I noticed some rejection of this culture in the capital Lima. I noticed so many social obstacles that allowed discrimination to blind people from their own history and roots. I also couldn’t stay in Peru for a long enough time to search for an outlet of folkloric dance. I was also limited due to my strict family. Meanwhile, here in NYC I did as much as I could to reamain involved. I held some festejo dance workshops in highschool that lead to some performances. This inspired to to continue to share what I know to my community here in NY and to learn more. I am currently a dance major at Hunter College and just finished working with Grupo Wayno (Pancho) on my modern dance piece "Nawpakuna." They were awesome enough to play live for my dancers. I based my theme on the colonization of Peru and the conflicts of change versus tradition. I fused modern dance vocabulary with that of traditional Andean and Afro-Peruvain movement. The concert was personal success for me. I received so much positive feedback from the audience. It was a wonderful moment.... Meeting Luis and Pancho was a total coincindece, but I'll tell you about that some other time (I’m writing a novel over here!) They were such wonderful people to work with.

After reading about Nelida, all I could do was smile. I couldnt watch the trailer (my computer is prehistoric), but I could imagine that her voyage was beautiful and enlightening. I know she performs, but does she teach? Regardless, I was very inspired by the little I know about her quest to Peru. This is because I've been planning to do something similar. I am applying for a fullbright grant to do dance research in Peru. I am still investigating on where to go. I know that there are some dance centers in Lima, but I am more intersted on leaving the capital and going back to Cuzco, Huancayo, or Oroya. Let me know what you think. Like I said on the phone "This is my life." I know that sounds melodramatic, but hey, its true. I want to eventually establish a venue here in the states that offers native Peruvian dances, a venue I didnt have growing up. I wonder what Nelida would think?

OK, there is a lot more to talk about, but I did the best I could to abbreviate my short story grin

Thanks for taking out the time and let me know what you think....


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